Inland Empire Delta Pet Partner
Meet Kaylynn and Jasper!
Inland Empire Delta Pet Partner Of The Month
The following letter was submitted by Kaylynn’s mother.
Kaylynn got the idea of doing therapy work before she met Jasper. Three years ago, Kaylynn met an alpaca rancher named Mr. Dennis. She and Mr. Dennis became best buddies. She spent all of her free time at Mr. Dennis’ ranch, learning about alpacas. Unfortunately, Mr. Dennis had cancer and his treatments were not working. Dennis entered into the Hospice program this past January. Kaylynn’s visits became more frequent. On one visit while Kaylynn and Dennis strolled through the alpaca enclosures, Dennis told Kaylynn that the alpacas were his best medicine. This statement stuck with Kaylynn. If she found an extra friendly alpaca, she could share it with people who didn’t feel good. Mr. Dennis passed away on March 11, 2010.
Kaylynn never got to share Jasper with Mr. Dennis but I know that he would be very proud of her. The moment Kaylynn met Jasper it was love at first sight. The two were drawn to each other. Jasper followed Kaylynn everywhere and trusted her completely. Kaylynn doesn’t realize that Jasper was actually therapy for her. She lost a very special friend and Jasper heeled that void for her.
Kaylynn began working with Jasper right away. She familiarized him with lots of different sounds, sights, and smells, to prepare him for therapy work. We were very happy to learn that the Inland Empire Pet Partners were willing to evaluate an alpaca and a 10 year old girl.
On July 17, 2010 Kaylynn , who is ten, and Jasper , who had his first birthday on July 9, passed the Delta Society evaluation and became members of the Inland Empire Pet Partners. They began their work right away. Jasper and Kaylynn were invited to the Mission Trail Library. They read stories and did a great alpaca craft with kids 3 -5 years old. With the news of an alpaca in the library, the preschool reading program grew tremendously. It was a win win situation. Kaylynn got to share Jasper and make people smile and the library was ecstatic to have such a motivation for the young readers.
Kaylynn’s favorite experience so far has been visiting an 87 year old man with a bad heart. This little elderly man read an article in a local newspaper and desperately wanted to meet Jasper. He begged his family to take him to a weekend event that Jasper was going to be attending. His family was concerned that traveling would not be good for his heart so they sadly told him no. Fortunately his home health nurse saw the article and happily announced, “I know that alpaca and that little girl!” She called me right away and we arranged to have Jasper visit him at his home. Words can not describe how amazing it was. The hands of time rolled back as this little 87 year old interacted with Kaylynn and Jasper. He became animated and kidlike. His family beamed with excitement as they watched grandpa smile and laugh.
The Pet Partner Program has been a life changing experience for all of us.
I hope that this story motivates other young people to volunteer.